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"Superfriends": Cut to the Cheese

As a kid, I grew up with the likes of Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures and Batman Beyond. Whenever I would flip over to Cartoon Network and see Superfriends, I would quickly turn the channel. Even at a young age, I couldn’t stand its hokey dialogue and animation.

Something must have happened between then and now, as I pretty much fell in love with Superfriends after watching the first episode on the new DVD release. Much like the Adam West Batman show from the 60′s, you can’t help but love it’s obviously cheesy character movement and the fondue-drenched words spilling out of their mouths at a dozen “Holy Batman’s” per second. If you can enjoy Superfriends any other way (short of being a seven-year-old in the seventies), then I applaud you. In this day and age of animation, however, I don’t think you can ever take Superfriends seriously, and it’s much better if you don’t.

Moving past the show itself, this is the second Superfriends set, with the previous volume arriving almost a year ago in a similar two-disc fashion. This set comprises sixteen episodes (all on two discs—no flippers!), one music video and one featurette. Those who don’t know what to expect on the Zan and Jayna music video (“The Ballad of Zan and Jayna”), be forewarned: this is one of the weirdest things I’ve watched in my life—but man oh man, if it isn’t funny as hell.

The second special feature, “Pajama-Rama: Superfriends Retrospective,” features interviews with random writers and comedians, including Paul Dini, Geoff Jones and Wendi McLendon-Covey (of Reno 911! fame). It’s a hilarious look at the show done in the same vein as VH1′s popular “I Love The” series.

If the two special features aren’t enough, and they really aren’t considering the amount of material that must be out there for this show, then the extra little lithograph that’s inside the package should make up for it a little bit. Made exclusively for this set, ClampettStudio.com has produced this collectible litho cel, drawn by storyboard and layout artist Bob Singer with the background painted by artist Hector Martinez. Matted in a thin yellow cardboard frame, it measures about 3×5—it’s really nothing that amazing, considering it’s just ink, plastic and paper, but it’s a cool addition to the set.

There’s also a “decoder” that you use to view a page on CartoonDecoder.com. Holding up the red area, you can see if you won a trip to Warner Bros. Animation Studios or “hundreds of other prizes!” Oddly enough, this decoder, included only in Superfriends, features the BTAS Batman and STAS Superman on it rather than any Superfriends.

Unlike most DVDs from WHV now, the menus on this release are not animated. One amazing thing about this release, however, is the video quality. For its age, it certainly doesn’t show it; it’s crystal clear, with very few video defects and crystal clear audio. I expected something much worse and was treated to a hilarious show with a superb DVD transfer.

There’s only so much to say about Superfriends. Love it, hate it, either way it’s classic animation from Hanna Barbera. For many who grew up with this show, this set will be a treat to re-watch in all its over- exaggerated glory.

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